Thanksgiving, an important part of our English heritage

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Photo: Marie White

Quebec City is splendid in its golden-tinged hues of red and green that form the tapestry of the Thanksgiving weekend. Before the winter air turns the world white and stiff, nature gives the region a beautiful gift of colours, crisp air and bountiful harvests. If you are not leaving to visit relatives or friends this weekend, then what could be a special activity to do nearby 

There are many choices.

The open market on Route de l'église in Ste. Foy is resplendent with vegetables, bread and preserves to suit every pallet. The large yellow tents beckon visitors who arrive fresh from the cool outdoors with tables upon tables of produce from local farms and kitchens.

The Quebec Aquarium is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Just seconds from the historic Pont de Quebec, which is the longest cantilever bridge in the world, it is home to polar bears, walruses and a multitude of marine species. Kids, and their parents, love the outdoor and indoor shows.

Leaves are turning colours in parks like the Chutes de la Chaudière in Charny and St.Nicolas to the waterfall backdrop of the river of the same name. It is an excellent site for taking pictures and relaxation. Dogs are welcome and picnic tables are still set up.

There is also Mont Ste. Anne, alive with its Great Colour Adventure until October 12, where visitors are encouraged to enjoy the delightful outdoors. There will be a pumpkin hunt and special activities for dogs. A short car drive to St. Joachim would bring visitors to the Snow Goose Festival that ends on October 12. It is still time to take a cruise along the St.Lawrence or discover the historic Côte-de-Beaupré.

Sports fans can encourage Laval University's Rouge et Or Rugby team on October 10 at the PEPS, the only team playing over the holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without plump orange pumpkins.The largest pumpkin patch in the country is at the Genest Farm on Marie-Victorin in St.Nicolas. Fields of pumpkins run for miles in all directions and visitors can wander through to pick their own. Homemade products are also for sale in the quaint wooden store.

Across the street, is a world-winning cider plant where fruits and vegetables and cider all sit prettily on display for customers to sample and bring home. The south shore is the centre of the Gourmet Route that guides visitors through the farms and lands rich in local foods and cooking such as the Bergeron Cheese plant and gourmet stop along route 116.

If indoors sounds cozier, the Musée des beaux arts is featuring a Sweep Me Off My Feet event every weekend to warm hearts with its exploration of the theme of love. It is necessary to register to participate. There is also a new Naked Scenes in modern Canadian art feature exhibit.

Starting October 14, the Musée de la Civilization will house 7 Sins-7 New Tales, a unique look at the deadly sins of pride, greed, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath and sloth. Movies are shown in the theatre on weekends.

If home is best, well it is time to take out that car port and hoist it up! Rake some leaves. Bake a pumpkin pie. Light extra candles and read a great book with a hot cup of tea. Since it is pleasant to have something to look forward to, note that the annual Quebec City Book Fair is coming up on Halloween, October 31, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Eastern Quebec Learning Centre.

Thanksgiving began as a celebration of gratitude for the harvest, for friendships, first with the native people here who helped newcomers survive, and for all other blessings. It has become a prime moment to stop and share and enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!